Swedish mom Anna Larsson isn’t a doctor. She doesn’t work in pediatrics, health nutrition, or even food sciences.
She does, though, have a young daughter who loved sweet treats—so much, in fact, that she threw a tantrum one day when her mother told her that she couldn’t have the sugary confection she was asking for.
That was when Larsson decided she’d had enough.
Although it’s common knowledge in the medical and nutrition industries that an excess of sugar are detrimental to everything from health and energy levels to sleeping patterns and cognitive function, many parents still ignore the recommended amounts of sugar when they dole out their children’s meals for the day.
Larsson decided she would take a stand, hoping it helped her daughter learn not to rely so much on her favorite sweets—and was amazed by the results. The 38-year-old mom removed added sugars from her daughter’s diet completely.
Then she watched as the four-year-old transformed from a temperamental tot to a much more even-keeled delight to be around.
It took a few days, the mom admitted in her post on Facebook, where she explained why she did it and the differences that came about.
The results quickly went viral.
Once her daughter’s system had gotten used to the shift from cinnamon rolls and yogurts, though, she stopped asking for them altogether—and with the shift in her diet came a slew of other positive changes, including a much more consistent sleeping pattern and better engagement and attention span.
“She was calming down so quickly,” Larsson wrote, “falling asleep so quickly in the evenings.”
It was like night and day for the young girl, and therefore a huge improvement for both her and her mother.
Studies have seen conflicting results regarding the cutback of sugar from children’s diets and the ensuing changes in their behavior, but the health effects are undisputed. Too much sugar can lead to headaches, poor sleeping patterns, pre-diabetes, and tooth decay, not to mention hair thinning or loss and skin problems.
Sugary sweets can often provide a side effect of disinterest in healthy foods, which Larsson had certainly noticed from her daughter pre-dietary overhaul.
Once she took the sugar out of her daughter’s day-to-day food intake, though, she noticed that the foods her daughter had once turned her nose up at were the ones she was calling delicious and begging for. It was a huge revolution in her daily menu, and decidedly for the better.
Some critics responded to Larsson’s viral post, pointing out that a limit on sugar can be just as effective as trying to cut it out all together. For Larsson, though, she believes the all-or-nothing method of changing her daughter’s diet was the best option for their family.
Others have followed suit, as well. Although Sweden is fairly low on the international scale in terms of juvenile obesity rates and Type 2 Diabetes diagnoses, the nation has still made a concerted effort to try and curb the trend they’re seeing just like other developed nations around the world. Many parents who are working to combat these trends found Larsson’s post to be refreshing, and have met with similar levels of success.
It isn’t for everyone—but for one family, this was the change that needed to be made for their success.